Some 150 taxi drivers who operate with hotels around Mauritius received, yesterday, a certificate in 'Quality Taxis for a better Tourist Destination' under the SUS Island Project. The Ambassador of the European Union in Mauritius, Mr Vincent Degert, and the Director of the Tourism Authority, Mrs Khoudija Maudarbocus-Boodoo, were present at the award ceremony.
In his address, Mr Degert lauded the commitment and interest shown by the taxi drivers for the training offered through the SUS Island Project. Taxi drivers are real ambassadors of sustainable tourism as they contribute significantly in maintaining a good image of Mauritius, he highlighted.
The Ambassador indicated that taxi drivers are in the frontline dealing with tourists and the impression that the latter have of the country is influenced a lot through their interactions with local people. Tourists, he continued, come to Mauritius because of the country's natural beauty as well as for the hospitality of its people.
Speaking about the SUS Island's Project, Mr Degert recalled that its main objective was to train taxi drivers so that they are better equipped to act as ambassadors of sustainable tourism in Mauritius and Rodrigues. He added that the project aims to build capacity of stakeholders of the whole value chain of the tourism sector.
For her part, Mrs Maudarbocus-Boodoo pointed out that capacity building is one of the major building blocks of the SUS Island Project as it is common practice in well-developed tourism destinations to have professionals who are knowledgeable, customer-oriented and above all, ethically responsible.
SUS Island project
The SUS Island project, an initiative of the Tourism Authority and funded by the European Union, fosters pro-handprint innovation in the tourism industry of Mauritius, which supports mainstream sustainable tourism for the mass market. SUS ISLAND promotes sustainable tourism innovation for tour operators; destination management companies; hotels; taxi drivers; tour guides; handicraft makers; and pleasure craft operators.
The training provided under the SUS Island Project aimed at empowering taxi drivers in numerous ways, namely through the provision of a good knowledge about the area where they are taking tourists; teaching them how to be attentive to the behaviour of tourists as well as avoid any negative environmental or socio-cultural consequence and; raising their capacity to collect feedbacks from the tourists which will help to continuously improve tourism products.